Raise your hand if you signed up for Disney+ the moment it went live. Reuniting with your favorite princesses and fairytales can be magical, but if you find yourself craving new tales with familiar elements, you’re in luck. Below, take a look at YA fairytale retellings that reimagine characters from the originals in thrilling new ways. Prepare to fall under the spell of these enchanting YA fairytale retellings featuring wicked queens, bold princesses, and daring adventure.
This is a personal favorite of mine and I will never stop recommending it: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns follows Xifeng on her journey from peasant to empress. This “Snow White” retelling focuses on the evolution of the Evil Queen, with Xifeng proving that nothing will stop her from seizing her destiny. It’s a dark, bloody, and captivating tale with an antiheroine you won’t forget. Plus once you finish reading you can dive into the companion novel, Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix, to see what happens when Xifeng clashes with her stepdaughter Jade.
Looking for a contemporary twist on your favorite magical tale? “Cinderella” is given a fandom makeover in Ashley Poston’s Geekerella. Elle Wittimer’s favorite sci-fi series is hosting a cosplay contest that Elle is determined to win, especially since the prize is a meeting with Darien Freeman, the teen actor who plays Prince Carmindor in the movie reboot. But she has to first beat out other fangirls, including her stepsisters, for the prize. For even more nerdy fairytale fun, check out Poston’s The Princess and the Fangirl.
Take a trip down the rabbit hole with L.L. McKinney’s reimagining of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Seventeen-year-old Alice runs into Addison Hatta battling a Nightmare on the streets of Atlanta. As a mortal, Alice shouldn’t be able to see Nightmares, and when Hatta realizes she has this gift he whisks her away to Wonderland to train her to slay them. From there, things only get curiouser and curiouser. The sequel, A Dream So Dark, is on shelves now. Treat yourself to both as an unbirthday present!
In this retelling of “Snow White,” the narrative jumps between the past where 16-year-old Mina is carving a path to the throne, and the present when Mina’s 15-year-old stepdaughter Lynet is made queen. Readers learn about Mina’s desire to find love, unaware that her father cruelly cut her heart out and left a glass one in its place; and about the magic a sorcerer used to create Lynet out of snow in her mother’s image. Though they seem like rivals, the two girls have more in common than they ever thought possible. Bashardoust fans will be excited to learn that she has another book coming in 2020: Girl, Serpent, Thorn, which takes inspiration from Persian mythology.
Anna-Marie McLemore combines two fairytales in this novel: “Swan Lake” and “Snow-White and Rose-Red.” The del Cisne family is magically bound to a bevy of swans that live in the neighboring woods. Each generation they’re blessed with two daughters, but the price to keep one is that the other will be transformed into a swan once the girls come of age. Sisters Roja and Blanca aren’t willing to let this curse control their lives, and they begin to plot a way to break it once and for all. This moving tale about sisterhood and identity is not to be missed.
Craving a tale as old as time? Brigid Kemmerer’s debut draws inspiration from “Beauty and the Beast.” Harper is an 18-year-old with cerebral palsy living in Washington D.C. and wondering how she’ll repay her father’s debts. But when she attempts to stop a kidnapping, she finds herself transported to Emberfall, a magical realm ruled by the cursed Prince Rhen. He believes that true love can break the spell on him, though Harper isn’t so sure. She’s more concerned with finding her way back to her world.
What are your favorite YA fairytale retellings?